Okayama will be a great vacation destination for travelers who have long dreamed of getting closer to the traditions and culture of Japan. The national color is felt in everything, including the townspeople's love for traditional holidays, cooking, and art. All restaurants specializing in Japanese cuisine are necessarily decorated in keeping with national traditions. They have wooden furniture and traditional Japanese lanterns in the halls.
Okayama offers more than a thousand shops and malls, so shopping enthusiasts will not be bored here for sure. It's a good idea to start exploring local stores with a walk through the city's … Open
Okayama residents also cherish customs associated with national costumes. Traditional clothes are worn on all holidays and special occasions. The national costume is an obligatory attribute of the tea ceremony and many other rituals. Throughout the year, Okayama holds many sumptuous holidays, mostly of religious nature. The most unusual celebration attracting lots of tourists is the annual Hadaka Matsuri Festival held in February. The name of the event can be literally translated as "Naked Festival".
It is celebrated in all cities of Japan, but Okayama's festival is considered to be the biggest one. The history of the festival has more than 500 years, and Saidai-ji Temple serves as the main venue. Here they perform an unusual ritual, in which only men can take part. For this, men put on special loincloths, which become their only piece of clothing. Several hundred men gather in the temple's courtyard in order to literally "catch their luck". The culmination of the festival is catching the special amulets that are thrown into the crowd by the monks. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Okayama is an important transportation and education center in Japan, as well as a city with rich cultural heritage and complex history. It was founded in 1889 and was considered a major … Open
Locals believe that a man who can catch the amulet and put it in a special bowl with rice will ensure himself luck and prosperity for the whole year. The Hadaka Matsuri Festival is held throughout Japan, but Okayama is still considered to be its birthplace. All interested men can join the unusual ritual, but for this, they must first undergo a rite of purification running through the icy waters of a pool located in the temple. It is noteworthy that more and more foreigners join the exotic festival in recent years. Men who have tattoos on their bodies, as well as those under the influence of alcohol, are not allowed to participate.
Unusual cultural traditions are reflected in all areas of local people's daily life. Foreigners should take into account that Okayama residents are not used to shaking hands. The main form of greeting for both men and women is a small bow. This is not just a form of greeting, but the main way to show respect for the interlocutor. People say goodbye in the same way. The local tradition of bowing has become so widespread and important that they bow to each other even while riding a bicycle.
Okayama is ready to delight families with a variety of entertainment centers, picturesque parks, and interesting places to walk. One of their favorite spots among active tourists is Nichioji … Open
Another interesting feature is that it is not customary to look into each other's eyes here. Direct eye contact is considered a sign of bad manners. Making a bow, you should slightly lower your eyes down. Even though Okayama has long acquired the status of a popular tourist city, local residents show a rather restrained attitude towards foreigners. They are extremely reluctant to talk to tourists, and during the conversation, they answer specific questions and no more. Such behavior should not be regarded as a sign of disrespect - the townspeople just find it embarrassing to talk to foreigners and experience some discomfort when communicating with them. For hundreds of years, international communication was absolutely limited here, which can be felt even today.
Politeness is another feature of a national character that becomes noticeable from the first days in the city. In shops and other public institutions, sellers and managers will surely smile at the customer and greet him or her with a traditional bow. In the streets and other public places, you won't see people having heated conversations. If you happen to travel by public transport, you can notice that all young people yield seats to the elderly, and such behavior is considered the norm here. Sign language is widely spread among city residents, and some of its elements may not be understood by foreigners. For example, the well-known OK gesture symbolizes money here. When locals take pictures, they often show the popular “V” gesture with their fingers, which indicates a good mood.
Okayama - guide chapters